Street vended foods are readily available sources of meals for many people across the world, the microbial quality and safety of such food is always uncertain. In developing countries, the major sources of food-borne illnesses are street vended foods because they provide a source of affordable nutrients to the majority of the low income groups. The aim of this study was thus to assess the microbiological quality and safety of street vended meat sauce in Bahir Dar Town. A total of 60 samples (30 each inn morning and afternoon) were assessed to reveal indicator bacteria and pathogens from December, 2010 to June, 2011 using standard bacteriological techniques. Mean aerobic mesophilic count of 4.16x104 and 4.71x104 cfu/g were recorded in the morning and afternoon, whereas mean total coliform count and S. aureus were 4.00x104 and 4.53x104 and 3.52x104 and 4.39x104 cfu/g in the morning and afternoon, respectively. Only the count of aerobic mesophilic bacteria was below the recommended limit. The mean microbial loads were significantly different in the morning and afternoon (p < 0.005). Salmonella was detected in all the samples of meat sauce analyzed in the morning and afternoon. The bacteriological analysis of water samples indicate the contamination of water within mean microbial load of 2.67 MPN/100 ml of water, which is beyond the acceptable limit of 2.2 MPN/100 ml of water. The observational checklist of vendors’ appearance and the environment indicates lack of personal and environmental sanitation and gives warning signal for the possible occurrence of foodborne contamination. The study publicized that contamination of street vended meat sauce is a possible health problem to consumers. Proper cooking and storage of processed foods and education of vendors on the environmental sanitation and food handling practices should be recommended.
Key words: Meat sauce, microbial quality, sanitation practice, street vended.
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